Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Interest-based advertising: Go define yourself

Google is entering the ad targetting business...calling it 'interest-based' advertising. Yes, ad targetting has been around forever (in online ad terms)...but Google's doing it the way they do most things: differently.

Here's the complete information explaining how it all works (here). In essence, you get to see how you are being targetted against a list of interest categories that advertisers use. Ads are served to you based on these interest categories.

Most importantly, Google makes the process of ad targetting transparent to the targetted user. In Google's world, users get to see what interests are being used to target them for advertising, but they also can define for themselves their interests.  

So What?

Consistent with one of our 2009 marketing themes (see Theme 1), Google's approach reflects the reality of the online ecosystem.  Google acknowledges + exploits this reality: That users define why not let them decide what advertising is most relevant + useful to them?

As we've posted on several occassions, when individuals are in control, they seldom conform to the neat + tidy stereotypes of prizm clusters or the gender/race/age identities used to target so much of traditional advertising. Online, users place a premium on utility and usability...which are inherently individual. 

So rather than trying to be more intrusive (see theme 4), with ever-more interruptive formats (prior post here) using only behavioral-based click pattern assumptions, Google prefers to pursue an online advertising experience that adds utility + relevance to the end user.  In the process, advertisers should find themselves connecting their advertisements with people who actually care. 

Define yourself here. 

1 comment:

  1. I pity the poor consumer non-durables marketers (tampons, toilet bowl cleaners, garbage bags, etc.) who will have a hard time playing the interest-based game. No one wants to indicate that they'd be interested in learning more about these products. I know Brawny tried an online interactive site, but seriously, who gave a damn? These brands spend heavily, and I would suspect they'll have to stick with their shotgun approach using old media to reach the masses. Interest-based definitely makes better sense for services and durable goods.